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Home Columns Unsolicited Advice A Series of Temblors Is Coming Nearer to RP and Gloria Arroyo Remains Indifferent to Plea for Earthquake-preparedness Program
A Series of Temblors Is Coming Nearer to RP and Gloria Arroyo Remains Indifferent to Plea for Earthquake-preparedness Program PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Unsolicited Advice
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Thursday, 04 March 2010 10:57

 

On Jan. 14, 2010, this writer sent an unsolicited advice to the Philippine President, as expressed by the article’s lead paragraph: “The Philippine government must undertake long-delayed and neglected earthquake-education and building inspection-and-retrofitting programs in view of the Haitian and other recent earthquake-caused disasters.”

 

To read the said article in its entirety, please click this hyperlink:

RP Must Undertake Earthquake-Education and Retrofitting Programs In View of Recent Quake-caused Disasters

 

Last Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history rocked Chile. While the magnitude 8.8 quake in Chile was 500 times more powerful than the Haitian magnitude 7.0 quake last January 12, less than 800 individuals died in Chile’s temblor. More-than 215,000 Haitians died in their country’s January 12th earthquake and left more-than a million homeless. Know why there were dramatically fewer deaths and damages in Chile than in Haiti?

 

Chile – because of its history of suffering from catastrophic earthquakes – is well prepared for such a natural disaster. Chilean children grow up doing earthquake drills in school. Chilean laws mandate strict standards for construction so that buildings can withstand temblors and firmly enforce them. The Chilean government has created a rapid-response network of rescuers and emergency personnel – as backed up by the Chilean armed forces and police – so as to quickly spring into action when an earthquake or other natural calamity happens. In short, Chile had been doing the “Earthquake Education and Preparedness Program” (E2P2) and strictly enforces a construction code that is geared to make buildings safer during temblors.

 

I said also in the Jan. 14, 2010, article that “the entire Philippine archipelago is located in the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire,’ which is a region that surrounds the Earth's Pacific Ocean and is known for its volcanoes and earthquake activity.”

 

W ell, early today, March 4, 2010, (Taiwan time), a strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake rattled Taiwan during the rush hour. So far, only 12 people have been reported injured but no deaths. Taiwan has been also doing the “Earthquake Education and Preparedness Program” (E2P2) as done in the United States, Chile and other developed countries.

 

Earthquakes are common in Taiwan, which sits at the juncture of the Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates. In fact, the northern-most Philippine province of the Philippines, the Batanes chain of islands, is so close to the southern-most islands of Taiwan that it is said on a clear day, people from both groups of islands can see each other. More on the Batanes’ Ivatan-Taiwan relations can be read in this article, More Proof that Ivatans Are Related to Ethnic Taiwanese and Need for a Nationwide DNA Study in RP

 

This writer has been sending unsolicited advices to President Gloria Arroyo and other Filipino decision-and-policy makers but to no avail. For instance, in 2005, I sent a proposal to the Office of the President on how the Philippines could procure hospital ships and operate them as the country’s and the Overseas-Filipinos’ contributions to the international response to disasters and natural calamities. Despite an acknowledgment from the Philippine Department of Health, the Office of the President never acted on my suggestion. Readers can read again the matter of the hospital ships in this article,

Gloria Arroyo Misses a Golden Opportunity to Create a World-class Legacy of Leadership in Disaster Relief by Operating Hospital Ships

 

God forbid an 8.8 earthquake hitting Metro Manila but if and when it does, perhaps a million Filipinos will die or get injured and more-than 10.0-million will be left homeless. Why? Because the country’s national and local leaders are not doing their duty of undertaking long-delayed and neglected earthquake-education and building inspection-and-retrofitting programs.

 

Please see also this video, which has been posted in several e-newsgroups,

http://edition. cnn.com/video/ data/2.0/ video/tech/ 2010/04/21/ coren.manila. unprepared. quake.cnn. html

 

H ere is the AOL news report about today’s earthquake in Taiwan:

 

Strong Earthquake Rattles Taiwan

 

Lauren Frayer Contributor

AOL News

 

(March 4) – A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattled Taiwan during rush hour this morning, severing power and rail service, swaying skyscrapers and sparking a huge factory fire. Twelve people were slightly injured and no deaths were reported.

The quake struck at
8:18 a.m. local time in a mountainous region near the southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest town with about 1.5 million residents. It's the same spot where a typhoon killed some 700 people last August, and some temporary housing built for typhoon survivors collapsed. Dozens of aftershocks followed, including one with 5.7-magnitude, according to the Web site of Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.

No tsunami alerts were issued.
Taiwan was under a tsunami warning that covered many Pacific nations after the Chilean earthquake last weekend, but no huge waves or damage were reported.

The quake struck
Taiwan around the same time that strong aftershocks were reported across the Pacific in Chile, where nearly 800 people died in Saturday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Today's aftershocks prompted more wave warnings, but they were later lifted.

 

Firemen at a textile factory battle a blaze that started shortly after the quake struck on Thursday in Tainan, Taiwan.


The director of the Central Weather Bureau's seismology center, Kuo Kai-wen, told The Associated Press that the Taiwan quake wasn't geologically related to the Chile one or its aftershocks. But he said its intensity was unusual for the area. "This is the biggest quake to hit this region in more than a century," he said.



The Taiwan temblor was felt as far away as the capital Taipei, some 250 miles from the epicenter, where skyscrapers swayed for several minutes. High-speed trains linking Taipei to the south were suspended for safety checks. Kaohsiung's subway system was also down.

Taiwanese actor
Chu Chung-heng described panic on a train he was riding when the quake struck. "Many people in my car were screaming," he told the AP. "I was so scared that I couldn't make a sound. The train shook very hard and I thought it was going to overturn."

Half a million customers are without electricity across southern parts of the island nation. Some residents reported cracks in large apartment buildings and bridges.

Taiwanese television aired dramatic footage of a mushrooming fire at a textile factory in the southern city of
Tainan, where huge plumes of black smoke billowed over the horizon. No one was injured there.

The island's president, Ma Ying-jeou, is planning to visit
Tainan this afternoon, his office said. Ma was widely criticized for his government's slow response to last year's typhoon, and his office was quick to dispatch troops to check for damage and casualties this morning.

A doctor in
Taipei, Shuo Hong, told CNN he was at a meeting at his hospital when he and his colleagues felt the conference room begin to rattle. "It was shaking for about 20 to 30 seconds, shaking more than what we expected," Hong said. "We were debating whether or not to run for shelter, but the hospital is safe," he said "It is built to resist a 7.0-magnitude earthquake."

Earthquakes are common on the nearly 14,000-square-mile island of Taiwan, which is about the size of the American states of Maryland and Delaware combined. It sits at the juncture of the Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates.



A quake with the same magnitude as today's struck the same general region of
Taiwan last December with little damage. But in 1999, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 2,400 people there. # # #



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 21:06
 

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